Tuesday, June 11, 2019

To my Christian readers, if any: Sharing a heritage can be challenging (part 3)

Part 1

Part 2

This post is about a song that makes me sad . . .

. . .  and about some responses to that song that made me even sadder.

Here's the Israeli duo Yonina singing a song that they wrote, "Mamtinim (Waiting)."  Be sure to click on "More" for the lyrics and English translation, and, if your Hebrew comprehension is as poor as mine, be sure to click on CC for captions.

When Yonina composed and made a video of "Mamtinim," I'm sure they never expected some viewers of that video to post comments such as these:

Unexpected Comment #1:
"Love this music, because to see the songs is the wonderful presence of the Holy Ghost :)"


Unexpected Comment #2 (excerpt):
"Yonina...i love your music...you are a blessing!"

. . .

The commenter then proceeds to quote from "Yochanon."   The Hebrew name Yochanan is generally translated as John.


Unexpected Comment #3 (excerpt):
"This is indeed a very beautiful song, that touches the soul,. . .

. . .

The commenter then writes about "his infinite mercy, in the work he performed on the tree of atonement, . . . and talks about "when the Mashiach returns.  Yeshua ha Mashiach . . . shed his innocent blood . . . "


Judging by both their clothing and the songs that they write and/or sing, the duo Yonina--Yoni and Nina Tokayer--are Orthodox Jews.

Therefore, I can guarantee you that they did not and would not ever write any songs about the Holy Ghost, because we Jews do not believe in the Holy Ghost.

I can also guarantee you that their "Mamtinim" is not about the return of "Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah)", because (a) according to Jewish tradition, the Messiah/HaMashiach has not yet come, and, therefore, cannot "return," and (b) we Jews do not believe that Jesus was, is, or will be the Messiah.

I would also like to remind my readers that the Gospel of John, quoted in Unexpected Comment #2, is part of the Christian Bible.  Why did Comment #2's writer quote from the Christian Bible--did they not notice that the male singer in this video is wearing a kippah / yarmulke / skullcap?

As a Jew, it seems to me quite clear that Yonina's target audience for "Mamtinim" was their fellow and sister Orthodox Jews, or, at least, Jews with some knowledge of Jewish sacred literature.  The proof is that they quote repeatedly--the quote is embedded in the chorus--from a text by the Jewish scholar Maimonides that I suspect many Christians don't know.  I will spare you an internet search for "The Thirteen Principals of Faith"--you can read the entire list here.

"I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah,
and though he tarry

אחכה לו בכל יום שיבוא

Achakeh lo b'chol yom sheh-yavo [This is quoted in the chorus.]

I will await him each day."

The commenters not only meant no harm, they believed sincerely, no doubt, that their comments were compliments to Yonina.

But that, in itself, is a problem:  There are Christians who do not understand, as the comments above demonstrate, that Judaism is not just a miniscule denomination of Christianity with adherents who share Christian beliefs but observe some unusual customs--they seem to be unaware that Judaism is  a completely separate and independent religion with its own beliefs.

Judaism is the parent religion of the Church, not one of its many children, but it's not necessarily treated that way.

There is hardly any aspect of the Jewish religious civilization--whether it's something as ancient as the Jewish Bible or something as contemporary as a Jewish song that was just published on YouTube in 2018--that is not susceptible to being completely reinterpreted by some Christians.

That sometimes makes this writer wonder whether we Jews actually own our own Judaism anymore.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You so totally need to chill. Who cares? I'm sure Yonina would be thrilled if Christians bought their album. And if you ever see any of the stuff on Facebook that is pro-Israel, 80% of the supportive comments are from Christians. Sometimes with explicit Christian messaging. I don't care. They're far more supportive than most Jews are.

I think that what you are exhibiting in all of these posts is insecurity. If you're secure in your Judaism and knowledge, you care a lot less about what Christians think about Judaism.

Thu Jun 13, 08:46:00 AM 2019  
Blogger Richardf8 said...

If someone slapped these English lyrics in front of me with no comment on their provenance, I would be very likely to assume I was looking at Christian praise music. All the elements are there: the notion that this world sucks, and that we are waiting for someone who will bring us to a world that doesn’t suck, and waiting is all we are empowered to do.

Please remember that it is this very impulse within Judaism that brought forth Christianity (and the bar Kochba revolt, and Sabbatai Tzvi, and the meshichist heresy in Lubavitcher Chassidism).

That Christians would mistake a text like thos for something of their own hardly surprises me. Heck, I had to look them up to assure myself they weren’t Jews for Jesus.

Sun Jun 16, 12:30:00 AM 2019  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Okay, Anon., so maybe I do need to chill. I don't know about the insecurity, though. What's so incomprehensible about being upset when one's heritage is hijacked?

Richardf8, interesting interpretation. I hadn't thought about the lyrics quite that way.

Mon Jun 17, 09:35:00 PM 2019  

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